Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 389–399

Relation of Parental Caring to Conspicuous Consumption Attitudes in Adolescents

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10834-012-9282-7

Cite this article as:
Gudmunson, C.G. & Beutler, I.F. J Fam Econ Iss (2012) 33: 389. doi:10.1007/s10834-012-9282-7


Adolescent conspicuous consumption attitudes are perversely rooted in human relationships and interfere with personal growth and engagement in adult roles. Negative associations between parental caring and conspicuous consumption could be evidence of a compensatory motive to seek for the passing admiration of others when parent–child relationships fail to fulfill basic needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Very little support, however, was found for Veblen’s original hypothesis that conspicuous consumption attitudes are driven by perceived social class distinctions. Yet, immersion in the consumer culture promoted by the media predicted higher levels of conspicuous consumption attitudes which were also more prominent among older adolescents. This small-scale study of 257, predominantly middle-class adolescents, calls attention to the need for more family socialization studies of adolescent money attitudes.


Conspicuous consumption Materialism Media use Parental caring Self-determination theory Theory of the leisure class 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.School of Family LifeBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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